Distance: 35 km
Time: 4 – 8 hrs
Elevation Gain: 1,924 m
Elevation Loss: 1,918 m
Technical Rating: Advanced
Physical Rating: Extreme
Season: July – August
Permit Required: Parking Permit
Angel’s Staircase is a physically demanding, epic loop that takes you far from civilization, so bring plenty of food and water and make sure that you carry tools that you know how to use. The rewards are fantastic views of jagged mountains and into beautiful alpine basins filled with flowers, trees, and small lakes.
The trail is all singletrack, though the first climb up to Cooney Lake can be dusty and loose as it is shared with motorbikes. While most of the trail is easily climbable, the section between Cooney Lake and the first pass is a good 30 minute hike-a-bike up a steep trail. The suffering is worth it not just for the views but also because you’ll ride through some of the most beautiful alpine meadows before climbing the Horsehead Pass and from there the trail is a flowy rip back to the car. The trail here is buff, fast and well-maintained by equestrian clubs.
TRAILHEAD | N48 13.221 W120 16.072
From Twisp take Hwy153 turn onto Gold Creek Road, which parallels the highway, then turn right (still Gold Creek Road). Take FR 4340 and follow it until you turn right onto FR 300. This road will climb steeply up to the parking at Crater Creek Campground. The trail is obvious, leaving right from the parking lot.
bikepirate rating: 4 Skulls